Charlie, dressed as a tramp for the first time, goes to a baby-cart race in Venice, California. He causes a great deal of trouble and confusion, both on off the track (getting in the way of... See full summary »
Charlie, dressed as a tramp for the first time, goes to a baby-cart race in Venice, California. He causes a great deal of trouble and confusion, both on off the track (getting in the way of the cameraman) and on (interfering with the race). He succeeds in irritating both the participants and the public. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
This was the first film in which Charles Chaplin played his most famous character, The Tramp. With only a small number of exceptions, Chaplin would play only The Tramp (or slight variations on the character) on film until The Great Dictator. See more »
This was the film which introduced Charlie Chaplin's Tramp character to the world and, while by today's standards it isn't particularly entertaining, given the quality of the competition at that time it's easy to understand why Chaplin (and the tramp) became popular so quickly.
Back in the early days of cinema the studios cranked out films at an incredible rate just to keep up with demand, and it's understandable that much of what was produced was well below standard. A director, a cameraman and two or three actors would wander the streets looking for suitable locations, and then, when they found somewhere, just make stuff up and hope it was funny.
Most of the time it was pretty lame, but Chaplin here at least shows a modicum of talent and originality as he lampoons the average man's propensity to abandon his dignity and self-respect if it means he can stand in front of a movie camera for a few seconds. It still goes on today - just check out the witless oafs who crouch slightly in the background and wave their arms while grinning inanely while a news reporter delivers his TV bulletin on the streets - and it at least shows a level of observation lacking from most movies of its day. The joke lasts too long - even Chaplin can't wring six-minutes worth of laughs out of such a simple concept - but it's still fairly interesting to watch.
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